The Swiss foreign ministry has urged Myanmar’s military, which seized power on Monday in a coup, to “immediately suspend its actions”. It also called for the release of all government officials and civil society leaders.
“The Swiss foreign ministry supports the aspirations of the Myanmar people for democracy, peace and development, and calls on the army to immediately suspend its actions,” the ministry told the Swiss news agency, Keystone-SDA, on Monday.
Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup against the democratically elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was reportedly detained along with other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in early morning raids.
The army said it had carried out the detentions and imposed a one-year state of emergency in response to “election fraud”, according to a statement on a military-owned television station.
The announcement on Myawaddy TV cited an article of the country’s constitution, which allows the military to take over in times of emergency. The announcer said the coronavirus crisis and the government’s failure to postpone November elections were reasons for the emergency.
In elections, Suu Kyi’s party won 396 out of 476 seats in the combined lower and upper houses of parliament. The state Union Election Commission has confirmed that result.
But the military has claimed there were millions of irregularities in voter lists in 314 townships that could have let voters cast multiple ballots or commit other “voting malpractice.”
The United Nations led condemnation of Myanmar’s military. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the developments were a “serious blow to democratic reforms”. The United States, Britain, Australia and the European Union condemned the military’s coup and detentions and its declaration of a state of emergency.
Myanmar’s neighbour China was more muted, however.
“We have noted what has happened in Myanmar and are in the process of further understanding the situation,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing in Beijing.
“China is a friendly neighbour of Myanmar’s. We hope that all sides in Myanmar can appropriately handle their differences under the constitution and legal framework and safeguard political and social stability,” he added.